Colton Crossing Freight Rail

Federal Infrastructure Policy and Funding Update: Week of June 6, 2022

We saw important announcements out of the U.S. Department of Transportation this week regarding selections of successful rail projects competing for nearly $370 million, as well as available funding to effectively plan for development around transit and rail stations. Also, this week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced funding to expand biofuels production to help decarbonize the transportation sector. And finally, our latest policy brief covering drinking water and water quality provisions of the IIJA is now available. Thanks for reading! If you are not a current Federal Infrastructure Policy and Funding Update subscriber, subscribe now.

Key Recent Policy and Funding Happenings

Federal Railroad Administration Announces Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Grants

Last week, the FRA announced $368 million in CRISI grants for 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The CRISI program funds projects that improve safety, efficiency or reliability of passenger and freight rail transportation systems. Although one of the largest rounds of CRISI awards ever announced, this round reflects funding in place before the IIJA which provided advance appropriations of $1 billion per year. The Notice of Funding Opportunity for IIJA-funded CRISI grants is expected later this year. More information on the CRISI program and other passenger rail (and transit programs) funded through the IIJA are available in our Transit and Passenger Rail Policy Brief

Federal Transit Administration Announces FY 2022 NOFO for Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program 

Although not a large funding announcement ($13 million), the FTA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity for the TOD Pilot Program provides support for comprehensive or site-specific planning associated with fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects. The program seeks to reinforce and build upon the relationship between transit, housing and land use, recognizing that better planning can help reduce costs for American families and reduce the impacts of transportation on climate and air quality (AASHTO Journal article). 

Department of Energy Announces $59 million to Expand Biofuels Production and Decarbonize Transportation Sector 

The Department of Energy announced $59 million to accelerate the production of biofuels and bioproducts to reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors. The “Scale-Up of Integrated Biorefineries” funding opportunity announcement will advance biorefinery development and feedstocks improvement projects. This aligns with a broader Department of Energy strategy to support biorefinery projects that can produce the following at every stage of development:

  • Sustainable renewable diesel
  • Aviation fuel
  • Marine fuel
  • Rail fuel

(Author’s note – I’m not sure why each agency has its own acronyms to announce the availability of funding, but here we are. Seems like an easy opportunity to make a tomato/tomahto joke with NOFO/NOFA, but I digress.) 

Latest Advisory Services Policy Brief Covering Drinking Water and Water Quality Now Available 

We’ve published our latest in the series of Advisory Services Policy Briefs that summarize key provisions of the IIJA; this one covers provisions in the water title of the bill. Specifically, those provisions affecting the state revolving funds for drinking water and clean water and provisions that focus investments in specific geographic areas across the country. With more than $72 billion from the IIJA directed towards water projects, this policy brief discusses programs created or modified that support investments in these essential components of our infrastructure. 

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